Hannity again misled on Raines' purported role with the Obama campaign

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On two recent editions of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity claimed that Franklin Raines is an "economic adviser" to Sen. Barack Obama, in one case citing "The Washington Post" as a source for his claim. However, both Raines and the Obama campaign have denied that Raines advises Obama in any way, and a washingtonpost.com Fact Checker item examined several Post items cited in a McCain ad that makes the same claim and concluded that the ad "exaggerat[ed] wildly" in its claim that Raines "advises" Obama.

On the September 30 and October 1 editions of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity claimed that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is an "economic adviser" to Sen. Barack Obama, in one case citing "The Washington Post" as his source for his claim. Hannity's claim echoes one made in an ad released by Sen. John McCain's campaign, in which a narrator states: "Who advises [Obama]? The Post says it's Franklin Raines for 'advice on mortgage and housing policy.' " However, as Media Matters for America documented in response to Hannity's previous false claim that Raines is a "chief economic adviser" to Obama, both Raines and the Obama campaign have denied that Raines advises Obama in any way. Additionally, a washingtonpost.com Fact Checker item examined several Post items cited and concluded that the McCain ad "exaggerat[ed] wildly" in its claim about Raines' purported role with the Obama campaign.

On October 1, Hannity claimed: "In the case of Franklin Raines, he made $90 million in six years, and now he's one of the economic advisers, we read, of Senator Obama." He then asked Fox News contributor Karl Rove: "Do these now become political issues?" Later in the broadcast, Hannity asserted: "Frank Raines, who ended up making $90 million in six years, he, along with Jim Johnson, these are economic advisers for Barack Obama."

On September 30, Hannity said to former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D): "Here we have economic advisers for Barack Obama: We've got Franklin Raines -- he made $90 million from Fannie Mae for the six years that he worked there -- an economic adviser for Barack Obama." Vilsack interrupted, saying of Raines: "He's not connected with the campaign." Hannity replied: "[O]h yes, he does. And read -- don't believe me -- read The Washington Post. Franklin Raines, and then Jim Johnson was selected -- he was also -- ran Fannie Mae, was a CEO at Lehman Brothers. He made tens of millions of dollars. And they're both reported to be mortgage and economic advisers for the Obama campaign."

As Media Matters noted, in a September 19 Fact Checker post of McCain's ad, Michael Dobbs wrote that the McCain campaign cited three Post items as evidence of an Obama/Raines connection, but that all three items were based on one conversation Raines had with Post staff writer Anita Huslin. In a July 16 profile of Raines, Huslin reported that Raines had "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters." From the Fact Checker post:

The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly in attempting to depict Franklin Raines as a close adviser to Obama on "housing and mortgage policy." If we are to believe Raines, he did have a couple of telephone conversations with someone in the Obama campaign. But that hardly makes him an adviser to the candidate himself -- and certainly not in the way depicted in the McCain video release.

During a September 20 speech, Obama said of the purported Raines connection:

The same day my opponent attacked me for being associated with a Fannie Mae guy I've talked to for maybe 5 minutes in my entire life -- the same day he did that -- the head of the lobbying shop at Fannie Mae turned around and said, wait a minute, "when I see photographs of Senator McCain's staff, it looks to me like the team of lobbyists who used to report to me."

As Media Matters further documented, several of McCain's own "most trusted campaign advisers" have served as lobbyists for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or both. Co-host Alan Colmes noted these connections later in the October 1 segment with Vilsack, saying, "[W]e can talk about the 19 McCain fundraisers and advisers who lobbied for Freddie and Fannie."

From the October 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: Does Franklin Raines become a big part of the narrative? Does the donations from Freddie and Fannie -- did they become a part of the narrative? In the case of Franklin Raines, he made $90 million in six years, and now he's one of the economic advisers, we read, of Senator Obama. Do these now become political issues?

ROVE: Yeah. Well, again, it depends on whether McCain wants to make it so and whether individual Republican --

HANNITY: Should he?

ROVE: -- candidates running for office -- I think we should. I mean, again -- again, this is an example of government run amuck. The -- you know, they did a -- Fannie and Freddie did a good thing by encouraging a market for low and moderate income mortgages, but then they changed from that into being a risky hedge fund, using the taxpayers' good credit to go out and make big bets, and when those bets went -- you know, I'll -- if you're leveraged 100 to 1, that means a 1-percent drop in the asset value, in the value of your assets wipes you out. And that's what these guys did.

I mean, they were -- they had a dollar worth of assets and they were borrowing -- they were invest -- borrowing money and investing it and they were borrowing $100 for -- on their $1 worth of capital, and so when housing prices fall even a modest amount, it wiped them out and it accelerated all throughout the system.

[...]

HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, last night and the night before on this program, we showed congressional hearings from 2004, and we showed the Democrats, all of them say, "No, there's not a problem with Fannie and Freddie." Frank Raines, who ended up making $90 million in six years, he, along with Jim Johnson, these are economic advisers for Barack Obama -- "No, they're doing a great job for the American taxpayer." Senator McCain had made the warning.

From the September 30 edition of Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: Here we have economic advisers for Barack Obama: We've got Franklin Raines -- he made $90 million from Fannie Mae for the six years that he worked there -- an economic adviser of Barack Obama.

VILSACK: He's not connected with the --

HANNITY: Excuse me?

VILSACK: He's not connected with the campaign.

HANNITY: Franklin -- oh, yes he does. And read -- don't believe me --

VILSACK: He's not connected.

HANNITY: -- read The Washington Post. Franklin Raines, and then Jim Johnson was selected -- he was also -- ran Fannie Mae, was a CEO at Lehman Brothers. He made tens of millions of dollars. And they're both reported to be mortgage and economic advisers for the Obama campaign. Should they be taken off the campaign?

VILSACK: Listen, they are not part of the campaign. They are not part of the campaign and --

HANNITY: Jim Johnson was selected to head up his VP committee, Governor.

VILSACK: They are -- they are not part of the campaign, Sean.

HANNITY: You're not telling the truth.

VILSACK: Let's -- no, no, no. Yes, I am. They are not part of the campaign, and you know it.

HANNITY: Governor, he was selected to pick his VP.

COLMES: Hey, Governor, Jim Johnson was elected, and, actually, apparently did a great job -- much better job -- picking a VP than John McCain's people did, apparently. So, I think we're seeing that to be true.

Also, if we're going to play that game, Governor -- I want to give you a chance to respond here in a second -- Rick Davis, McCain's confidant, his adviser, Charlie Black, worked for Freddie Mac. Rick Davis got 15 grand a month up until last month, and we can talk about the 19 McCain fundraisers and advisers who lobbied for Freddie and Fannie. I mean, come on. I mean, you know, this is about a private banking issue that's happening right now -- the private banks collapsing. What do we do?

VILSACK: There's no question about that, Alan. And that's why we need a resolution to steady this economy.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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